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On Virtue Ethics$
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Rosalind Hursthouse

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199247994.001.0001

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Aristotle and Kant

Aristotle and Kant

(p.91) 4 Aristotle and Kant
On Virtue Ethics

Rosalind Hursthouse (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Virtue ethics is often praised, especially at the expense of Kant's deontology, for giving a better account of the moral significance of the emotions than the other ethical approaches, and, in particular, for giving a more attractive account than Kant of ‘moral motivation’. However, a careful consideration of Aristotle's enkrateia/arete distinction ( the distinction between strength of will or ‘continence’ and full virtue) and the famous passage in Kant's Grundlegung in which he discusses moral worth, reveals that, in many ways, Aristotle and Kant are much closer than is usually supposed. In so far as Aristotle has a notion of ‘motivation’, the continent and the fully virtuous agent have the same motivation—they both act from reason (logos) in the form of ‘choice’ (prohairesis.)

Keywords:   arete, Aristotle, continence, Enkrateia, Kant, moral motivation, virtue ethics

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